Well, we have another small anecdote for you. Today, it’s about us stuck with our little local language skills…
A few days ago, we visited an unknown local bar and restaurant like we do nearly daily these day, due to our work for an app. Usually, our small Lao skills together with English work perfect and since we’re in a tourist town, most of the menus are available in English. Well, you read correctly: most.
The restaurant is located in the outer districts of Luang Prabang and yes, you’re right: there was no English menu or anyone speaking English. We hesitated, but then tried to understand the menu without understanding any word. At least, there were some pictures and so we ordered only “half-blind”. It must’ve really been strange for the staff to serve non-Lao customers. I then heard her talking with another staff, saying something with “ເຂົ້າຜັດ” (spoken: “kao pat”), meaning “fried rice”. That sounded quite good and a few minutes later this was proofed. Matthias played “order what you can read” and got some fish, which was delicous but as a vegetarian…well, it got eaten, anyhow. Still, food was amazing, and so we even ordered a second time: kao pat for everyone.
Asking for the bill was connected with some language of course, but worked quite good. Only telling them that we left some tip took half a minute, but in the end worked as well.
So, good to know: as long as you are staying in the well-known town center, everyone’s fine with English. Outside the main tourist area, this can quickly change into: no English at all.